Monday, November 12, 2012
I'm starting to struggle again.
Almost 3 good weeks. They were real, but they feel far away today.
Stress is running high. Work has been hard, not good actually. I'm beginning to question whether or not it is a healthy place for me to be, even just two days a week. But for now, I am there - and it is my privilege to be there. This week I am working 4 days, and am thinking I might stick to the 2 days a week from this point on.
Thanksgiving is next week. Ethan should have turned 6 months old next week, instead he will be 6 months gone. I'm an experienced parent, blessed to be able to say that surely. I know most 6-month-old babies are learning to sit up on their own...marking my favorite stage for babies. There are fewer things cuter than seeing your own child sitting up on their own, chunky rolls, drooly chins and toothless smiles - that's what Ethan should be. But I know that if he were here, alive that is, he would either be just 3 months old (if born at term) or would most certainly not be sitting at 6 months (with cerebral palsy and other chronic medical conditions). Even the would be's are confusing to envision. Nothing is simple any longer.
So Ethan is still gone, and that sucks. I was making dinner tonight and had a wave of sadness - not a crippling wave. But one that made me pause and say, OK enough of this shit already. I'm done not having my son. I'm ready to be "cured" of his death, read for him to be here with me now in an earthly way.
I've often heard that the holidays are hard for many, I've seen that as a therapist with my clients. But now I get it. I love Christmas...not about the gifts so much. (We only buy each child three gifts as Jesus only received three gifts.) But I love the hymns, the fellowship, the story of a miraculous baby. My love for Christmas remains, though it now evokes a longing. The story of the love a little baby can inspire makes me want to hold Ethan more than ever. He should have been the baby Jesus in the pageant this year...I might fall apart when I watch it without him.
Anyway, next week is going to be hard. With what should be Ethan's 6 month birthday, Thanksgiving and having to work on the 6 month anniversary of his death. Oh, and I work in a cancer center - perhaps I'll ask to take a half day on the 23rd.
My breath caught today when I listened to my voicemail. It was the social worker from the NICU asking permission to use a photo. Of me giving Caroline Ethan's star at the memorial service in some sort of Brigham and Women's publication. The social worker said how nice it was to see us again..."to meet your children...your other children..." Language makes a difference. Ethan is my child, will always be my child.
How many children do you have? I got that today at the grocery store check-out. "4," I proudly replied. Any twins? she asked. "No...we had 4 in under 5 years." Some must have been surprises then? This woman was a little forward, but I didn't mind. "The best surprise of my life," I replied.